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Solomon said,"There is no new thing under the sun." Soon after Nehemiah return to Jerusalem, he convinced the nobles and people of the city to unite under his faithful leadership to rebuild the city. At first everything went well, and the work progressed rapidly.
At the same time a great drought had begun to strangle the land. Food production had dropped disastrously and many of the poorer Jews who lived off the land had begun to suffer greatly. But famine was not the only cause of their hardship. There were certain well-to-do nobles and Jewish money lenders in Jerusalem who began to take advantage of the impoverished state of the common folk. They viewed economic disaster not as a reason to help their needy brethren, but as a way to make even more money!
Then money-hungry profiteers offered them loans, charging interest rates to make profits. To obtain these loans, many of the starving, desperate families were forced to mortgage their own fields, vineyards and homes to the moneylenders. Others had already mortgaged their properties in order to pay taxes to the Persian government, which were levied every year throughout all the provinces. Some were so bad off that having already mortgaged their lands and still being short of necessary food, they were forced to sell their own children into slavery in order to get enough money to survive!
History repeat itself!
Ted Rudow III, MA